Taking On Rescue Rats
Taking on any rescue animal comes with its own challenges, although it can be a very rewarding thing to do. Rescue rats are no different.
People rescue rats for all kinds of reasons, such as wanting to help a rat in need or wanting to add to their mischief without waiting for kittens from a breeder. Sometimes they might need older rats to live with a lone rat.
Where can I rescue rats from?
There are several ways to find rats to rescue. All my rescue rats are from the adoption section in Pets At Home.
This is not part of the main store. Look for signs for Support Adoption For Pets, and you’ll find a few enclosures of animals in need of adoption. Support Adoption For Pets was founded by Pets At Home as a charity to support the rehoming of small pets. If you buy an animal from here, your money funds the charity, not the pet shop. Some of the pets here are genuine hand-ins, but others are ex-stock, moved off the shop floor to make way for new and younger babies. Not everyone is comfortable with adopting from here for this reason but won’t question adopting the rats that were given up by a past owner.
You can also check the adoption listing with rescue charities like the RSPCA, the Blue Cross, or local animal rescue centres. If you do adopt from these places, they will usually require you to pass a home check.
Another option is to take rats directly from the previous owners. There are a few rat rescue groups on Facebook, but the most popular is Rat Rescue Network UK. Here, owners who need to rehome their rats for whatever reason will share details of the animals needing a home. This can be a better option for first-time rescuers or newer owners, as you get more information about health and temperament, and have a better chance of getting a well-socialised, friendly rat.
What are the benefits of rescuing rats?
The main reason people choose to rescue a pet is to give an animal in need a good home. Taking on a challenging rat and helping it to have a happy life is incredibly rewarding.
Rescues can also be faster to find then waiting on a breeder’s waiting list. If you have a lone rat in need of company, taking on a rescue can sometimes be the best, and fastest way to get same-age company.
What are the drawbacks of rescuing rats?
The disadvantage of taking on rescue rats is that you don’t always know much about their history or background. If you’ve rescued them from anywhere other than their original home, then you won’t be able to find out much about their line or past health records. It may be that your rescue rat was originally from a pet shop or backyard breeder, meaning that they may be from a poor line. This can lead to a genetic predisposition to certain issues, like aggression or mammary tumours. all rats have the risk of becoming ill, but you may end up with a constantly sickly rat who costs you a lot in vet’s bills.
A rescue rat can have other issues too. If they’ve been living in a less than ideal situation, then they may not have been handled much. This can lead to rats who are nervous or frightened of people, and they may even be aggressive. A frightened rat can be tamed, but this will need time and patience. An aggressive rat can also be helped but is easier for an experienced owner.
A rescue rat can be very rewarding, but it is very important to consider whether you have the time, money, patience, and knowledge to work with a sickly, nervous, or aggressive rat.